Built in 1782 after King Rama I ascended to the throne, the Grand Palace is by far the most popular attraction in Bangkok. Situated on the river it’s a huge representation of just how much power the King of Thailand held at the time and the riches afforded to him. It’s also very representative of thai culture and and design.
The dress code for the palace is strictly enforced. You need to cover up- this includes not wearing short dresses or skirts, not wearing tight leggings, not having a singlet shirt on and have long sleeves (shawls are also not accepted as a replacement for long sleeves but we saw a few people get away with this).
I wore a maxi skirt, tshirt and my cardigan over the top whereas Maddy wore some lightweight pants and a cardigan over her shirt. I was able to take the cardigan off through security. If you don’t want to carry extra clothing around with you they also let you borrow some conservative clothing for free.
Having to wear so many clothes made the heat more unbearable than it had already been that morning. Both of us were still assimilating to the heat and humidity of Bangkok so it was very hard to put more clothes on.
However all of this was worth it to see the amazing buildings that make up the Grand Palace complex. From the outside it may look unassuming- it’s just a large white wall around the whole area but once you get inside the place is amazing.
Everyone was so colourful, so intricately designed with such attention to detail and there was a lot of gold. My advice is to take the time to explore all of the buildings (if you can stand the heat).
You are allowed pictures except inside the Monastery of the Emerald Buddha. To visit this you need to take your shoes off before you enter.
Once inside we sat down on the floor with everyone and just soaked up the atmosphere and harmony of the place.
Don’t point your feet towards Buddha- it’s disrespectful and the guard will quickly snap at you to put your feet behind you (we just tucked them under ourselves and kind of sat down on the back of our legs).
This is not a place like the Sistine Chapel where photos aren’t permitted but everyone is taking them anyways- the one guy that attempted a snap got the no photo sign forcefully jabbed at him by a very angry armed guard.
This is still a thai place of worship and you need to respect that both with your dress and your actions.
While the Grand Palace left us a sweaty mess from the bulk clothing we had to wear, and our wallets slightly lighter with an exorbitant entry cost of 500thai baht ($20) per person, it is well worth the effort and the cost to see this amazing piece of history.
If you are located anywhere on the MRT line or BTS line you can get to the grand palace by catching the BTS (change from the MRT at Silom) to Saphan Tatsin (you may need to change lines at Siam) and then you can walk down to Sathorn pier and grab a boat up the river to the Grand Palace (try to avoid the one with the blue flag as this is the tourist boat and more expensive).
There are many local buses from Khaosan Road to the palace as well- look at the bus station sign and there is usually some information in english about which bus to catch, or I’m sure the person on the desk at your guesthouse can point you in the right direction.
As always taxis are an option but make sure you get them to put the meter on (if they refuse or try to negotiate just get out and grab another cab). Tuk Tuks will be the most expensive form of transport as you need to negotiate a price with them beforehand.
Do not talk to anyone outside the palace! There are many scammers outside of the temple that will approach you. They will tell you the temple is closed and attempt to lead you somewhere else where they will make you buy things etc. Just go confidentially up to the entrance and purchase your ticket .